Sunday, November 27, 2011

Because of Mandy website redesign

I love design and I love dogs. Getting the opportunity to design a website to help save dogs has been an incredible opportunity. A co-worker of mine semi-recently rescued her dog, Grace Kelly, from a rescue group called Because of Mandy. When Aimee Ryding (the owner) was looking for someone to give her website a little TLC, I was stoked that she turned to me. For the past week, I've worked on redesigning their current website as well as adding quite a few new elements. Today, ladies and gentlemen, it went live! Please go check out and let me know what you think!

Original home page

Home page

Adoption page

Happy Endings page

Contact page

I was a little nervous about working within because I wasn't sure how designer-friendly it was going to be. Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad. Fortunately, there was a decent pre-existing template and it had some HTML access. Overall, can't complain.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

DIY: Sparkly painted wine bottles

I created this DIY project based on two different ideas I saw on Pinterest. One involved a vase, rubber bands and spray paint while the other was bottles, spray paint and epsom salts. I have mixed feelings on how it turned out, but thought I'd pass it along just in case anyone wanted to give it a try.

The two original projects I combined into one.

I chose clear wine bottles, but any sort of vase/bottle/glass container should work the same. Wrap them with multiple thick rubber bands. Make sure the bands are snug and don't pucker in any spots. Warning: some of mine were at stretched pretty far at an extreme angle and decided to slip during the painting stage. Be gentle.

Next step is to spray paint them white. Any color will work, but if the epsom salts don't cover evenly, you'll really be able to tell if your paint doesn't match the salt. I ended up with multiple coats for even coverage.

With the rubber bands still on, cover the entire bottle with spray adhesive. Hold the bottle over a bowl and sprinkle the salts on. Rolling the container in the salts may cause your rubber bands to slip.

Let everything dry completely before removing the rubber bands. Cutting the bands with an xacto knife worked out better than trying to get a pair of scissors underneath and risk scraping off the salts.

Last step is to spray everything with a clear protective coating. This helps hold any rogue epsom salts on the bottle and gives it a little bit of shine. Garnish if necessary.

Looking back, I wish I had cut the bottoms off of the bottles first. I think they would look cooler with lights or a candle inside. I didn't think about this until after I had already spray painted them. Oh well. Just something to think about... 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Many thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you all find yourselves in the presence of family and loved ones today as well as giving thanks to all the good things in your life. I know I will. I am so incredibly blessed in almost every aspect of my life. I will never be able to thank God enough for showering me with all of these blessings, but I'd like to take a minute now and list what I'm thankful for... (because God reads my blog, right?)

  1. My lil family: I love my little three member family with all my heart. I cherish the time we spend together all curled up on the same couch, lounging around in the living room, going for walks... any time we all together. I have a loving husband who has been by my side through thick and thin for many many years and I love him so very much. I also have this long, skinny lil furball that I absolutely love to death and I don't know what I'd do without her. Thank you Julianne and Will for trusting us with Zora and I am so thankful for what you do to save the furry kids!
  2. My other family: I have the most incredible parents ever. No joke. They have shown more love and support throughout my life than I will ever be able to give them adequate thanks for. I am thankful that my dad is almost done with his "work sentence" in West Virginia and can come home and retire. I pray every day for his health and safety as he gets through the next year and a half. I am so thankful to have a mom that is my best friend. Without her, I'd be so lost. So, so lost. And for my sister, without you, there would be no 5:20 rummy, pounce tournaments and retarded photo booth sessions. I'm so lucky to have you as a sister. I love you all!
  3. Success: Everyone thought Clay and I were crazy for waiting so long to get married, but we had a plan. It's because of that plan and our hard work that our lives came together so perfectly. We both have college degrees, work in jobs that we love what we do and who we work for (and be in Michigan), were able to purchase a house before we got married (thank you God for no apartment living), buy a brand hew vehicle, vacation, etc.. We have a roof over our head, food in our bellies and the luxury of never having to go without... we are blessed.

I could go on and on about all the little things in my life that make it so wonderful in my eyes, but I shall stop there. Time to get my side dishes together and get ready. A big thank you to everyone that makes my life complete. God bless and have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

♥ Gma T

Thanksgiving... a time for family, counting your blessings and happiness... for the most part anways. Thanksgiving is always such a tricky holiday for me. My life is overflowing with blessings beyond all comprehension and I look forward to spending the holiday season with the ones I love. However, 5 years ago today, I said goodbye to my Great-Grandma Toni. She was, and still is, the only close family member I've ever lost. She was approaching her 96th birthday when one day things took a turn for the worse. I'll never forget coming home from Clay's house in the wee hours of the morning to find my parents awake. It only took a second before the realization hit me; I knew she was gone.

It was hard trying to get in a few hours of sleep before needing to get ready for the Thanksgiving festivities that afternoon. Having the family all come together at Grandma's that day was such a blessing, yet so very difficult. How do you celebrate your blessings and the fullness of your life when you're missing a family member? Up until that point, our extended family was constant. Sure, a few boyfriends here and there, but always Grandma and Grandpa Neiser, the Zylstras, the Polanics, both Neiser households... and Grandma Toni. Up until that day, that's how it always was... every holiday, every birthday, every family picnic out by the pool.

Even though that day was nearly impossible to get through, I will always remember one incredible moment my family shared. We circled around the table as always for grace... before us "kids" are banished to the family room away from the adult table. This time, our prayer was spoken through choked back sobs with our hands all locked together. It was such an indescribable moment for me. Even from coming from a very close-knit family, the overwhelming feeling of love and togetherness and support was just incredible. I think about that moment a lot... especially around the holidays. Just another reminder that Gma T is always here.

1989 Grandma Toni with the six Neiser great-grandchildren: (L to R)
Maria Renico, Miranda Schelhas, Andrea Archambault,
Ashley Zylstra, Laura Neiser and Dan Polanic

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Booze 'n Tunes

Bravo, bravo. Pandora should start suggesting that I restock my liquor cabinet.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Five Love Languages

I'm stealing this blog post from That's So City because I think the Five Love Languages is one of the most simple and accurate relationship assessment out there. I strongly encourage everyone to take this short and easy quiz to know what category you fall into... to become more aware if nothing else.

If you score above a 12 in any category, that is your specific love language. It is, however, possible to have more than one. My highest scoring category was Word of Affirmation followed by Physical Touch.

Word of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Physical Touch: This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

I thought for sure that touch would be my number one and acts of service number two, but after reading the description for words of affirmation, I can see how it applies more to my marriage at this time. As much as I love a close embrace or being surprised by a chore being done without having to ask, sometimes I just need to hear that I'm on his mind or have his undivided attention. The biggest thing I've discovered with marriage is that now there are so many other things to steal away your attention. Chores, work, dogs, bills... :cough: hunting/fishing/golf.... you get the idea. Bottom line, it's just nice to hear that you're still the most important thing on his mind.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


A huge huge congratulations to my dear friends Sarah + Phil Teeple on the birth of their daughter Emmalyn Sue! Although Sarah wasn't scheduled to be induced until December 12, Emmalyn decided to make her appearance today at 9:24 AM weighing 7 lbs. 1 oz., and was 20 3/4" long. Mother and baby are doing fine.

Again, congratulations Teeples on your beautiful family! Sending all my love to you guys and can't wait for a visit after the New Year. xoxo

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DIY: Decorative Painted Acorns

I originally came across this project on my beloved Pinterest site and have wanted to do it forever. Fall is finally here and as soon as the acorns started to drop, the collection began. Unfortunately, there wasn't single decent oak tree along my normal walking route, so my mom was beyond helpful with gathering enough acorns. Guess doggy poo bags come in handy for other things. :)

When collecting, keep in mind that the burr oak (aka mossy-overcup oak and scrub oak) has the largest acorns. You will want big ones. Filling up a vase takes quite a bit and painting them can become rather tedious. Another thing I did was stick all the acorns in the freezer for a few days. Acorns are pretty buggy and you'll want to kill them before you start your craft project.

Create a white paint and Elmer's glue mixture for your initial coat over the entire acorn. This is also the time you'll want to glue any caps back on that may have popped off. Then put a second coat of just white paint over everything.

The next step is to paint the caps brown. This took me a good solid two coats. I put wax paper down to help with things not sticking. After the brown is dry, go ahead and paint the rest of it with the color of your choice.

The final step was to spray everything with an aerosol mod podge as a protective coating and to give them a little shine. I found this cylinder vase at the dollar store to put all the acorns in. Ta da!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A + Z Time

While Clayton is in Missouri this week for hunting, it's been a lot of Andrea and Zora time since I got back from West Virginia. I've also decided that Clay's side of the bed shouldn't go unused while he's away, so Zora's keeping it nice and warm. We'll see if he gets it back.

Zora was also a bad ass trick-or-treating assistant. She waited by the window and then would come woof at me when kids were coming to the door. Worked out pretty well since I was trying to multi-task and clean house while handing out candy. I put the baby gate in the front door so Zora could see the kids, but wouldn't get outside.

Andrea and Zora weekend was pretty uneventful. I spent two days cleaning out the Malibu. That poor car... Clay trashed it. Anyone have a super-duty upholstery cleaner to recommend? I've tried Resolve, a felsnaptha bar, Awesome, Shout... even with my big carpet scrubber, those seats are stained with grease, oil, dirt, deer blood, Mountain Dew, Little Debbies.... (I married a 27 year old child). Any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.

We also had a play date with Mojo and Grace at Kristen's house. Zora apparently forgot how to play. :/ I also fixed the fuzzy computer feet marks in my kitchen table. Well, hopefully. Had to do a few coats, but hopefully it'll all even out. Um, other than that, hope to do a few craft projects this week before Clay AND my parents come home.  :)

Have a great week everyone!  

We traded bandanas, so we were each other for Halloween.

Sleepy baby.

Zora's mini prison while I worked out in the garage.

She likes Jello... and cool whip.

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